My story, concluded.

by Paralipomenon 14 Replies latest jw friends

  • Paralipomenon

    Well it's been a while since I wrote the first two parts and this isn't so much a conclusion to the story because it hasn't ended. My intent for posting was to write out my life and provide a link for my wife to read and perhaps understand. I'll fill in the blanks as best as I can.

    I was just about ready to disassociate myself when a girl I had loved in a previous congregation came back into my life. She had been engaged but her finance cheated on her and the wedding was called off. She went to her grandmother's place which happened to be where I was currently living. We hooked up and I played the part of a faithful witness and we rekindled our friendship. I had grown up quite a bit since I had left my parents and also my religion. I was more confident in me. Finished college and got a degree. While in the organization I had miserable self esteem, I didn't initiate any relationships because I didn't feel I was good marriage material. When I was approached about "reaching out" for MS and elder responsibilities I was started to have my doubts.

    The organization still controlled my mind so that I punished myself for lacking faith. But now was completely different. I was confident, started a career and independent. I knew it wouldn't work out long term but being perfectly honest here, I thought I'd hook up, have some fun and then move on to a more worldly girl. Okay, sorry women here, yes I agree that was a very bastardly thing to think. The problem was that we were really soul mates. We had been really good friends for a long time but never expressed any romantic feelings for each other. The more we talked, the more I felt bad for just wanting to use her. We dated for over 8 months and could talk forever.

    The talks weren't goody two shoes witness conversations, we would discuss and debate hot topics and have philosophical discussions. The longer we dated the more I realized that I wasn't going to find a worldly girl that I enjoyed the company with more. On the other side I couldn't go back to the organization that I could now see as a headless monster.

    Late one night I called her up and confessed my issues with the organization. I poured my heart out and figured that she could make the decision herself. While disappointed, she felt the same way I did about her and knew that she would never find a more compatible mate within the organization. We agreed to disagree and started planning our wedding. We went through the whole wholesome pre-marriage talk and lied a little bit about our dating practices. While we didn't have sex before we were married we did everything but. She was perfectly willing to start having sex before our wedding date, but I felt that the guilt after we got married would eat away at her. For the record, it's very, very, very difficult to say no to a woman you love throwing herself at you.

    We got married and I attended meetings with her. I would do work for either the office or home finances while I was there. This went on for a few months then we got hit with the biggest shock of my life. She was pregnant. You know how the pill is 99% effective? Meet our son, I call him "one percent". This completely threw me for a bender. I was young, still new in my career, newly married and about to be a father. On one side it inspired me to climb the corporate ladder so I could afford to pay for my new family and was able to double my already decent salary within 3 years. We decided to bite the bullet and officially start our family and had two more children. In this time I just didn't have time or patience to put up with JW's anymore. I attended less and less meetings and hadn't been in service at all. We moved alot as I changed jobs and eventually our records got lost.

    Slowly, without me driving us to attend my wife started to attend less and less. This was really great. We kept up the illusion with our parents (both sets are JW's) that we were regular and everything was fine. Over the past two years our children started attending school. Now I hadn't been to a meeting in forever, my wife had been to one or two and since our kids aren't used to sitting still for a boring talk they are very difficult to handle at the meetings. This was more or less ideal for me. We had faded and my parents, while strongly suspecting so (we are now assigned to their hall, lol) will turn a blind eye to our lack of attendance because they know if they shun me, there is no way in hell I'm letting them keep a relationship with their grandkids.

    So this is perfect huh? Not quite. Now that our children are attending school my wife starts getting involved. She shows up at school and announces that we are witnesses and our children will not be participating in any holiday activities.

    Remember when I mentioned my motivation for posting my story? This is why. I consider myself a good father. I look after them and am very involved in their life. A father only wants what's best for his kids. So now my children are about to get all the ridicule from being a JW, but are not actually attending meetings.

    I thought that the perfect decision would be for me to disassociate myself and have her stay in. I could really care less about being shunned, we could let our kids do the holidays and she could keep a good relationship with her family. At this point we have many "worldly" friends that aren't emotionally draining on my wife. My kids are enjoying playing at schools with their friends while the witness kids shun them. Eventually they will see our hypocrisy and wonder why they couldn't enjoy themselves as children if we weren't really witnesses.

    I was writing my story out for my wife and wanted to point her to it here to understand a bit more of my feelings. She is a very smart woman and I thought she might read through some other people's experiences and start to understand the organization for what it is. We had a few conversations over the years, but usually they ended with "you have your beliefs, I have mine".

    So after posting part two of my story here I confronted her on it.

    It did not go good. In the blink of an eye, I lost my confident, composed, intelligent wife and it was replaced with a die-hard dub. Holidays are pagan, it says so in the bible. I want to return to the meetings, I want to take the kids. Jehovah is the most important figure in my life.

    I asked if it was more important than our children and our marriage, she said yes. We started to discuss how we would get divorced and I cried for the first time in 23 years.

    I have my integrity and want to lead my children by example. She wants to retain membership in this cult to please her parents.

    We don't attend meetings
    We don't go in field service
    We have a very healthy, non scriptural sex life
    We have worldly friends
    She buys our kids toy soldiers and toys with guns
    They watch what they want on TV (within reason)
    The kids have worldly friends
    We actually enjoying playing an online game together that is very much frowned on by the society.

    We are not witnesses. So why should we let our children experience the torment and ridicule that we experienced in school? So I am at a crossroad. I said we'd talk about it later and we dropped the issue. Since then she went to a meeting, but left early. So now I'm at a complete loss.

    I love my wife dearly, we have one of the best marriages I know of. We are genuinely happy, but as the kids get older it will be harder and harder to maintain the lie. We will need to bite the bullet at some point. If I do disassociate myself, her parents will do nothing by try to drive a wedge between us. I don't want our kids to grow up and ask me why I didn't protect them from the abuse they took in school. I'm torn between being a good dad and a good husband.

    This is where my story ends. It comes with more of a question and looking for advice from people that may have gone through this already.

    Thanks for reading.

  • candidlynuts

    hi P

    wow this is a situation for sure!!

    it isnt fair to the kids to make them live by jw rules in public when in private they are not raised that way. her solution is to resolve it by becoming active again and fully indoctrinating the kids. if you two were raised jw's do you really want them to have that same upbringing? the isolation in school? the feeling like a freak cuz you have to sit in the hall while the other kids play? being picked on because your different? all for a god they don't even KNOW about right now? there are a lot of questions you and she need to talk about before deciding to jump back into the religion or leaving it fully.

    it sounds like there is a lot of love between you two. i'd hate to see it end because of a publishing company.

  • SB

    your story really reminds me of, well, me when i was a child. :) I never went to meetings, my dad was "wordly", my mom never baptized but to this day clings to the faith half heartedly (luke warm, ha). i celebrated holidays, but not in school, and the flag salute and national anthem were out of the question. in my mind, b/c of my parents teaching, i was a "true christian". later, i "made the truth my own" at the ripe age of 14, but all throughout being a young child, i felt so different from the kids in school, but at the same time different from the other wittness kids. it's horrible to be so torn, it caused a lot of social problems for me.

    maybe you could reason w/your wife, and instead of argue, tell her you DO respect HER beleifs, and part of her beliefs are respecting the head of the household. remind her that you would never do anything to harm your own children, and as the head of your household you will permit HER to go to meetings, but not your children. also, tell her that the children really aren't any religion, because technically they are being raised in a religiously divided household. therefore, it is disrespectful to YOU, for her to announce to their school that they are JW's and can't participate in holiday's at school. chances are, like i was, your kids are confused why some things fly at home, but not at school. it's really setting them up for living w/double standards. it's not teaching them to be genuine people. also, getting a divorce would lessen the chances of your children ever becoming JW's. "religion tore my parents apart" is how their story would go. if your wife wants to worship Jehovah, that is her right as an adult. but as the head of your family, it is okay to say no to the kids being indoctrinated. when they are older, they will know their mother as a kind, religious woman, and maybe they will be inclined to ask questions, and yes, maybe one day they will want to go to the KH as well, but it should be when they are old enough to decide for themselves this is a free country, and we can't stop grown adults from believing what they (we) want to believe, but you have the right (and in her line of reasoning, the SCRIPTURAL right, to put limitations on your family's religious activity. out of respect for your wife though, i would suggest only applying this to the children, not to her, as it sounds like you respect her mind. she wants to raise your children the way she thinks is best for them, but according to the religion she wants to be a part of, this is not her decision in the end, it is yours.

    these are my thoughts on the matter. oh, coincidentally, my mother left my father b/c he wouldn't honor her religious beliefs and get married. so, as a result of an argument similar to what you are havng, i grew up in a single parent household. that is way worse than being raised by two people who have religious differences, in my opinion.

    i hope it all works out for you and your family.


  • restrangled

    Dear P,

    Your story is almost a carbon copy of my husband and myself. He never was "in" but studied with the JW's. I had left when I was 18 and married him at the age of 20. Everything was fine until our boys started attending school. Suddenly all the indoctrination from my childhood reared its ugly head.

    I wasn't attending meetings, but the holiday stuff, sports, etc., etc., suddenly became a big deal. Every year we did have a Christmas tree, it was down on December 26th by the early morning. I was trying to please a parent, ease my own conscience, make my husband happy. I started studying twice to make my mom happy, dragging my babies to assemblies or an occasional meeting. I really didn't want to be there but did it for the above reasons.

    I spent 26 and 1/2 years of my marriage like this......and in the end didn't get it.... until the parent I was trying to please turned on me. Its been all over since. My sons are now 19 and 22, they can't stand the JW's and can barely tolerate their own grandmother.

    It caused horrible divisions through the years. Your wife is straddling a fence that is impossible to maintain balance on. I don't have any answers.

    Pleasing parents is a no win situation in this religion. Hang in there for as long as you can, and perhaps she will snap out of it before I did. By the way, we did make it through all of this....Married 27 years the past November.


  • Smiles_Smiles

    Oh myyyy ... !!!

    My heart goes out to you. I am not one to really give advice. And I am definitly not one to judge. I wish you peace and happiness and a resolution to this problem that will allow everyone involved to be fulfilled.

    The only thing I feel sure of is you have a higher responsibility to those kids then you do to any adult until those kids are able to stand on their own two feet. Take that for whatever it may mean to you personally. They did not ask to be born or raised in a house full of hypocrisy that could damage their chances to have a beautiful childhood.

    much luv!!


  • AK - Jeff
    AK - Jeff

    I must admit at the outset - I cannot relate specifically to the circumstances you have to deal with. But perhaps to the illogical response that your wife is taking I can relate.

    My wife and I believed the jw dogma from childhood, through marriage to each other, through the adoption of our daughter, a couple of moves, several job changes [as is jw life without a career], etc. The lack of brotherly love caused us to 'weaken' and 'fall away' on two occasions through the years. On the last one - circa 1985 - I was beginning to adapt to life outside the jw circle - had a good job with a real future attached, getting life figured out outside the jw indoctrination. Then poof - out of the blue, here comes a Circuit Overseer - to my office no less. It was none other than the venerable current Governing Body Member himself - Steve Lett.

    Over the course of what I took to be sincere pleadings and kindness that I had never actually seen from other elders in the org, I gradually determined to rejoin the jw religious experience after having been out maybe 4 years or so, attending only the occasional meeting and the Memorial thru that period.

    The reason I reattached is why I told the story.

    After Steve Lett left my office, I thought for several weeks on my situation. I was a witness in the technical sense - but I was certainly condemned to death in Armageddon should it strike soon. I still refused to celebrate the holidays, to use bad language, read apostate thinking, drive a two door automobile [alright a little tongue in cheek there]. Anyway - I was a witness -and I was not a witness. I was restricting myself from life and it's pleasurable side for the sake of the 'Kingdom', but was still sure to die for my failure to be a real witness. My cognitive position in the matter, made the situation become a crossroads of sorts, a watershed moment in time. I had to elect to either be witness or not. I could not straddle the fence.

    Looking back - I wish I had seen the opportunity to escape for what it was, and began a serious investigation into the religion and left then. But I did not - I chose to fall back to the familiar, the safe, the comfort of assured salvation by association, that I had known all my life. All this was triggered by guilt in one meeting with one man whom I had never met before that day.

    Perhaps your wife had a similar trigger, the beginning of your children to attend school, and her reflection on the imprints that were laid on her at the time she did so. Her subsequent 'weak' attendence, indicates that to me.

    However I still have no advice - just perhaps a similar experience from a former fencerider. The good news is I eventually left - the things that bothered my eventually caused me to do what I should have 18 years previously. I feel for you and hope you find a workable solution.


  • Paralipomenon

    On the flip side, one of the halls we went to had a library going back to the 1880's of watchtower bound volumes and the golden age. When the baby was fussy, I'd take it downstairs as a great excuse to read all these old publications.

    One "Questions from the readers" from the 1890s asked CTR essentially if he would make the bible study group that subscribed to his newsletter into a formal religion. The answer was a blunt "no" because imperfect man had no place creating an organization on earth. The "Religion is a snare and a racket" makes alot more sense under the context that they didn't consider themselves a religion, rather students of the bible.

    Russel was very flawed but I think he had his heart in the right place initially. Rutherford was the one that saw everyones cries for an organized religion as an opportunity and seized it. People need to be led and the dominate personalties assume that role. More often than not, those that crave power are the the ones least suitable for the responsibility.

    Reading the archives on cult behavior by Lady Lee has been really eye opening. This flip between loving mother to paranoid cultist is a prime example of what she describes as "floating". I've ordered the book from Amazon but they say it could take a few weeks. I don't care if she stays in for her family, it's the whole point of fading. I just need to get through to her so she stays with her eyes open about how detrimental it is for the kids.

    I did ask her about it and she said that we can just pay attention to their behavior and address the concerns at the school administration level.

    Someone mentioned about me asserting my "head of the household" role. Honestly I never really bought into that. For me to play that card would be very transparent. We have always made major decisions together after discussion. We actually compromised that the kids would be allowed to go to the meetings or stay home if she was to rekindle her interest in the organization. I wouldn't pressure them to stay and she wouldn't pressure them to go. About holidays though she was very adamant that she didn't want her or the kids to have any part of it. This is just not something I can compromise on and apparently is a deal breaker.

    She is open minded enough that she'll read the posts that I've created here. I'm just hoping that if she can read here and realize that she can fade without losing her family she might be more open to letting the kids be kids. The biggest problem is, she has nothing to replace her faith yet. If she abandons the JW's she has been taught she loses her life and the kids will die to. I understand that is a huge amount of emotional blackmail.

    I'll try to point her to these forums tonight if it's appropriate and she might post herself. Or she'll leave me, not quite sure what to expect anymore. :(

  • Bstndance
    emotional blackmail.

    I used that in a letter I wrote to my mom last night. It's certainly not a Christian tool yet the JWs love to use it. You either choose us or them. I don't have any experience with marriage so I can't offer advice but here's a hug anyway.

  • coolhandluke

    PM IthinkIsee. He'll help you. He's been down this road. They are both out, kids included. Or go back and read his posts. Smart guy. Smart wife. You already have lots in common.

  • sspo

    I I would just lay low for a while and don"t make any decision for now and see where it goes. You are in a tough situation with no easy answer.

    My marriage fell apart recently after 26 years due to "apostasy " on my part. Luckily kids are grown and out of the house.

    You love your wife and kids, don't make any hasty decision that you might regret later.

    Continue to love them and be a good husband and i would not DA myself because it puts you completely in a different ball park.

    Work on your wife gently with knowledge you have aquired about the Borg., maybe in due time she will see the light.

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